Your 38th Week

The baby is nearly ready, you are more than ready, so when is the birth going to happen? Probably not yet—especially if this is your first pregnancy. For another week or so, the uterus is still the best place for your baby while the finishing touches to her development take place. If you have other children, you can tell them that their new brother or sister won’t keep everyone waiting much longer.


Even if you have enjoyed your pregnancy, you may be longing for it to be over

You are 37 Weeks and 1 Day 20 days to go…

Start preparing for the birth now: by being practical and positive, you can make it memorable for all the right reasons.

Your baby today

Full term has been reached and your baby’s features are now very clearly formed. To a certain extent from now on your baby is simply growing and putting on weight—factors necessary to provide energy after birth and help with temperature control.

Probably the most effective way to remember as much as you can about your labor and the birth of your baby is to try to remain as healthy and rested as possible prior to the start of your labor; this will give you the best chance of staying strong and clear-headed throughout.

Feeling strong and having plenty of energy may also help you remain upright and active during the course of your labor, reducing the need for pain relief such as Demerol, which can sometimes cause memory loss that makes it more difficult to remember the finer details of the birth. It’s also helpful to have your birth partner with you throughout your labor so that he or she can help to fill in any blanks later. Photographs and videos are also good prompts.

After the birth, if you find that there are parts you can’t remember, you can ask your doctor to let you see your birth notes. You might want to write up your experience in a journal.

Ensure you get plenty of rest in the next few weeks to get you in the best frame of mind for labor and birth.

Being hypnotized during pregnancy can make you more confident in the lead-in to labor.

A study found that first-time pregnant women also experienced a shorter labor. The average amount of time they pushed in the second stage was one hour, compared with the usual two hours for a first baby.

… Dads
Health professionals and you

When you get closer to the birth, and especially during labor, you will find that there is inevitably more contact with health professionals. These individuals are a source of reassurance and a font of knowledge, but as a male you may sometimes feel that you’re being sidelined or that your opinion doesn’t count. This can be very frustrating if you want to be highly involved in the pregnancy and birth.

Bear in mind that the health professionals are trying to provide care for the person who needs it the most—namely your partner. If you want to be heard, it’s a good idea to write down any questions that you may have before you meet with health professionals. Labor nurses will make every effort to help you to feel involved, and support you in supporting your partner.

Try to keep in mind that the most important relationship your partner has is with you, and that a positive attitude on your part can make a substantial difference to your partner’s pregnancy and birth. So be patient and persistent but not pushy.

You are 37 Weeks and 2 Days 19 days to go…

Your baby will benefit from extra time in the uterus, but her development is almost complete and she’s now “full term.”

Your baby today

A 3D close-up of the hand shows the skin folds. Just as fingerprints are unique, so are the deeper skin folds seen on the hands and feet. The grasp reflex is strong and your baby will start to grasp anything that touches the palm of her hand.

There is now less space for your baby to move and she will soon, if she hasn’t already, settle down into a comfortable head-down position. The shape of the uterus encourages this head-down position and, once in it, turning would be a major effort for your baby. Plenty of amniotic fluid remains to cushion and protect your baby, who will still be attempting to be very active in this more confined space.

Your baby’s behavior is now exactly the same as a newborn: she’ll turn toward light and yawn just as much as a newborn, and she’ll continue to practice breathing the amniotic fluid in and out with regular rhythmical movements.

Your baby will be very cramped in the uterus. It won’t be long, however, until she’s positioned head down and begins to engage in the pelvis as she prepares to make her entry into the world.

Hair down there

One dilemma that’s rarely discussed—but much pondered—among moms-to-be is whether they should shave or trim their pubic hair before giving birth.

It’s really a personal choice and depends how much it bothers you: just because your best friend had her pubic hair waxed, you shouldn’t feel pressure to do the same—aside from anything else, itchy regrowth will not be welcome in the days following the birth of your baby.

You might want to trim your pubic hair or use tweezers or shave any stragglers, though, in the interests of postpartum hygiene. Postpartum blood loss will cling to the hair.

If you’ve arranged to have a cesarean, the top inch (at least) of your pubic hair will be shaved in hospital, so you may prefer to do this at home yourself.

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